Haibun in the Modern English-Language Style by Ray Rasmussen
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Hunter's Moon

Minus 10 degrees, a night walk on Whitemud Creek, the spruce trees outlined against a deep purple sky. I stop, begin tai chi, mirroring the twisting branches. As I move through 'wave hands as clouds', Orion is framed in my arms. A gibbous moon casts long shadows on the snow, then drops below the bank. I start toward home in the darkness, feel a compelling need to look back, the hair on my neck rising. There, near the other bank, a shadow form, wolf-shape, not moving.

I freeze. Wait.

Fingers of cold slip in.


Suddenly the shadow stirs, melts into the forest. A ‘yip’ tells me it’s a coyote.

I run through my memories for accounts of coyotes attacking humans, find none.

Still, I walk backwards for a short distance, then turn, hurry home, looking over my shoulder, again, and again.

owl’s call–
boots squeak on
dry snow

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